2022-05-15

Cragging at Plattenkreuz, Näfels

Luigi and I went cragging at Plattenkreuz. I've never been to this particular crag, despite how convenient it is. By car, it only takes a few minutes longer to get to than the gyms. And the approach from the parking lot is literally only a few seconds long. In return you get a dozen or so routes with beautiful views and bomber rock.

We climbed:

  • Riss, 5b
  • Gringitta, 5c
  • Marcelino y Pan y Vino, 6a
  • Unnamed, 6b

Glarus is a catholic canton and we heard church bells non-stop. Must have been some kind of special Sunday.

Despite my long hiatus I managed to lead them all cleanly except for the 6b crux. That was a long traverse on crimps and marginal footholds. Felt quite good about that performance. And it certainly was extremely satisfying to finally be back on rock.

Coming back from the crag I immediately went to the outdoor swimming pool to meet with Anita and the kids. Hot weather and quite a few people lounging around on the grass around the pool. But suspiciously few actually in the water. It's unheated and cold! Lukas only dipped his toes and refused to go in. Leonie on the other hand didn't want to leave again. She has made tremendous strides in recent months in her swimming lessons and isn't phased by cold water at all. She was happily diving and splashing around long after I got cold and asked her if it might be enough!

Namesake for the wall. The big cross at the top that's visible from the village below. I surprised two hikers when I popped up my head from an unexpected direction ;-)
Luigi working the 6a route.

For the late afternoon we went to Zürich to a kids' birthday party. Cold drinks and cake in the park while the kids worked themselves out on the playground. Very satisfying day ;-)

2022-04-29

Albis Hike

Seven weeks after they cut away part of the bone above my left foot. Apparently bone heals within 6 to 12 weeks, so I had permission to fully load it again. Anita was travelling in Jordan. Both kids in holiday care. Great weather on my 80% working hours Friday off. Good time to put the foot to the test and go for a walk. We are lucky to live in a beautiful area so all I have to do to get into nature is drop off the kids in the morning and keep walking.

I met a lot of these guys on the way.
View towards Lucerne.
Sculpture at the Albishorn restaurant.

I walked up the Albis and followed the ridge all the way to the end at Sihlbrugg. Cross the river Sihl and return on the other side along the Horgenberg. The Albis ridge is forest preserve. The Horgenberg is postcard Swiss cliché rural idyll: green meadows, cows, vegetable gardens and orchards. Small one lane roads all to myself. The biggest excitement was when a car drove up quickly from behind me and raced past. I was mildly annoyed until I turned a corner and saw the car again: turns out it was the veterinarian who was now rushing to help a calf that lay collapsed on the pasture.

"Wir Kinder aus Bullerbü" anyone?
Some kind of parasitic growth on the tree?

I covered nearly 30 kilometers and 1000 meters of elevation gain in just under six hours. The foot held up well. No pain. But the lack of recent training showed and the small climbs felt more strenuous than they should have. Time to ramp up exercise again ;-) I paid for the trip only on the next morning: the foot was swollen and stiff and the first few limbs out of bed were painful enough to nearly make me faint. Same symptoms as pre-surgery, only magnified. Stiffness and pain every morning, extra severe after exercise the day before. Luckily for me the fix is in line with my natural preference - ignore the pain and start moving. Warming up the foot alleviates the symptoms to a large extent.

2022-04-02

Ski Season 2021/2022

As a consequence of my 2013 accident I have a severely reduced range of motion in my left ankle. In an attempt to mitigate this, I had scheduled surgery at the beginning of March. Expecting some forced downtime as a result of that, I tried to get as much skiing in before the hospital as I could. I ended up going on quite a few weekend trips with friends and a one week family vacation to a kids hotel in Austria. Good times!

Lesley, Felipe, Sören, Luigi. Gemsstock in Andermatt.
Amazing hoar. Almost looks like a picture.
Felipe, Sören, Luigi
Panorama.
Sam. We went to Andermatt-Sedrun on a day with brutally cold wind and temperatures. Hiding behind our backpacks on the open chairlifts. But in return we basically got the entire resort to ourselves ;-)
Brief glimpses of the sun.
Frozen face smile.
Thomas and me. Andermatt-Sedrun again. Beautiful weather this time.
As you can see, it was horribly overcrowded ;-P That is Thomas making his way down towards me.
Living the good life.
Christian and me. Andermatt-Sedrun once more.
Christian. This time at Männlichen. We threw ourselves down some crazy steep black worldcup runs. We topped out at 85km/h. Apparently the professionals peak at around twice that. 160km/h. Damn!
Sören, Christian.
Eiger Northface.
Lenzerheide.
Sören, Mark, Kai. Lenzerheide.
Mark.
Views.

We developed a rhythm at the kids hotel where we'd have a joint family breakfast before Anita headed out with the kids to the bunny slope behind the hotel. Leonie was attending her second ski course and making nice progress. Lukas would sled the same slopes and play in the snow. Then they'd spend the afternoon in the hotel daycare while Anita could enjoy some alone time in the spa. Meanwhile I was skiing as much and as hard as I could. Then we'd meet up again in the late afternoon for time in the hotel pool. Leonie is attending swimming lessons at home and was eager to practice in the pool. She's currently at a dangerous level of skill: confident enough that she'll happily rocket right into the deep end of the pool. Yet, she can't actually swim yet, so will do some dog paddling to keep her head above water while looking around for us to rescue her. Lukas as always is inspired by his big sister and so will jump right after her. Exciting times.

I tried to cover the entire resort during my week of skiing in Austria. I think I mostly succeeded.
"Kamikaze", "Only Experts". No shit. They take their black rating seriously here.
Good life!
Steep. Sustained. Fall at the top, have the helicopter pick you up at the bottom.
Hard to believe, but the weather was like this for an entire week!
Ooooh yeah!
Nearly 12 vertical kilometers in a single day. Squeezed into just 6 hours of skiing because I had to be back in time to entertain the kids.

Surgery. Completely unrelated to the skiing ;-P Modern medicine is freaky. I arrived at the hospital by tram. Two hours later I was in the operating room. A shared room, so while they rolled me in, I could look into my neighbor's open foot. Local anaesthetics only. I kept up a conversation with my surgeon while he was literally taking a hammer, chisel and rasp to my bone. Completely surreal experience. I didn't feel pain, but I could still feel temperature and pressure and of course could hear just fine, so I was acutely aware of what was going on. A meat machine in for maintenance.

I left the hospital on the next morning. After only two days I was off pain killers and the wounds seemed to be healing well. Two weeks later I gave myself permission to walk without crutches again. When I saw the surgeon again three weeks after the procedure, he was quite surprised to see me walk around normally and without a cast. So from a recovery point of view things seem to be going much better than expected. Unfortunately I don't see much progress in terms of improved mobility in the joint yet. People tell me to be patient and continue with physical therapy for a few months, but it is a bit disappointing. The surgeon's dry comment: "You should consider yourself lucky to be alive and walking at all."

Ready to be carted into the operating room. Quite happy to still be sporting a 51 pulse despite a severe lack of training since becoming a dad and working from home during the Corona years. There's hope for some more adventures yet ;-)
Morning after surgery. I love how they labelled my legs to make sure they are cutting open the right one.
Recovering in a friend's garden plot. Babysitting while Anita had to work on the weekend.